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What Is Fortnite Project Nova? This Server Brings Back The Early Days Of The Battle Royale

"Fortnite" is not the same game it was when the battle royale title first exploded onto the scene in 2017 — but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In many ways, "Fortnite's" evolution happened just how it needed to, with Epic Games' flagship game always striving to move forward with new ideas rather than constantly looking back at how things used to be. More contemporary additions like Zero Build Mode and skill-based matchmaking have arguably made the game more accessible than ever, and its enduring popularity is a testament to that idea. 

Of course, there's nothing wrong with nostalgia for the good old days, as many "Fortnite" fans will tell you. Unfortunately, previous "Fortnite" maps and their corresponding seasons are no longer accessible in any official capacity, and though adding modes to bring back these past locations is a highly-requested feature among the fanbase, it doesn't seem like Epic has any plans to do so. However, that doesn't mean there's no possible way to get a taste of classic "Fortnite." One ambitious fan project that has recently been making the rounds is Project Nova, which aims to give players the ability to go back in time to the earliest days of "Fortnite" — warts and all.

Travel back to old Fortnite seasons with Project Nova

Project Nova isn't the first "Fortnite" fan server of its kind, but it's certainly gained traction in a way many others haven't. First amassing popularity in mid-2022, Project Nova is developed by a modest team of just two users — @ForkKnifeGame_ and @Ahava_Official on Twitter — but its scope is anything but small.

Based on the date, the server provides a near-flawless recreation of the "Fortnite" experience from any given season of the game's first chapter (Seasons 1 through 10, that is). That means players can again drop in and battle against one another at iconic points of interest like Salty Springs and Retail Row as they were between 2017 and 2019. Everything, down to the weapon icons, the UI layout, and the sound effects, is presented in exactly the same way that it was back in the day.

Not only does the server bring back classic "Fortnite" gameplay, but it also gives players free reign to outfit themselves with any cosmetics and emotes they desire from the game's first ten seasons, completely free of charge. For fans that jumped onto the battle bus later in the game's life, getting a chance to wear some of "Fortnite's" rarest skins is quite the novelty in itself.

Project Nova isn't perfect

Some might believe a server like Project Nova sounds too good to be true. While it does succeed in providing a faithful recreation of the earliest seasons in the "Fortnite" timeline, it's not perfect. To start, the barrier of entry may be a bit high for those less experienced with computers. The complex install process requires players to join the project's Discord server, install several large files, get an exchange passcode for each play session, and more. However, a video tutorial is thankfully available.

Even once the game is installed, that doesn't mean players can jump in whenever they want. The development team personally hosts the servers at their own discretion, meaning that games are only available during a loose weekly schedule, and players must refer to Discord to see when each round is about to start. Even then, only one game is hosted at a time, so players will have to sit and wait if they miss the start of the next round.

Some elements of the server are still a work in progress. The team is working on adding support for regions besides North America, such as Europe, and the ability to squad up with friends is still relatively primitive. That said, Project Nova still mostly delivers on its ambition. Should players dedicate the time to getting everything set up correctly, the fan server offers a classic "Fortnite" experience that they would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.